We all make mistakes. Buying a ticket without checking if the film stars Matthew McConaughey or volunteering to cover a show for Whatsonstage.com that involves sharing intimate secrets with a room full of strangers.
Stand-up comedia Chris Thorpe and poet Hannah Jane Walker do not consider such gaffs to be Oh F-k Moments. They classify the latter as mistakes that have irreparable consequences –like sailing The Titanic close to an iceberg. The audience is invited to both share examples from their own lives and vote on the extent to which they fulfil the criteria. The winner is the one about reversing the car into granny.
The presenters offer their own examples and others drawn from history. The result is a show that is both uncomfortably intimate and amusing – and not without insight. Thorpe describes how he, and his brother, missed the moment when their father passed away whereas Walker ‘s efforts to rectify an OFM made bad matters worse.
An example is given of a man who bled to death rather than get medical help for an injury incurred as a result of a sexual fetish. Yet the duo argue that our inability to admit to an OFM is less to do with embarrassment than arrogance – we just can’t acknowledge that we are less than perfect. Ultimately an OFM is beneficial as we learn not to repeat the behaviour in the future.
The duo use audience involvement to demonstrate the universal nature of making mistakes. The technique has flaws though. Sharing secrets with a group of people seated around a deliberately chaotic table is reminiscent of grisly team bonding exercises at work. Asking audience members to read out the transcript of a black box recording from a crashed aircraft achieves little other than prove that trained actors are better at that sort of thing.
The audience is only really involved at the beginning and end of the show. In-between you begin to wish that the bright lights could be dimmed to avoid the distraction of studying the reactions of the rest of the audience. The Oh F-k Moment is far from being a mistake but would still benefit from some revisions even if they reduce the relaxed atmosphere of the show.